Fireworks And Pets

PET CHECK BLOG - Night firework display

\\\ Celebrations using fireworks

\\\ updated 2023

Fireworks upset millions of pets

Best ways to stop pets becoming anxious with firework noise

Fireworks celebrate Diwali – Chinese New Year – New Year Celebrations – and UK’s traditional Bonfire Night

Never take your dog to a firework display or any event where there’s expected to be loud noise

    Autumn evenings start drawing in, and you may suddenly experience a loud firework bang one evening and it jogs the memory that UK’s traditional Bonfire Night, 5 November, isn’t that far away with many exploding rockets, swizzle noises, bangs and hisses that upset your pets and animals.

    However, the purchase of fireworks to celebrate Bonfire Night by the public seems to be on the decline according to Business Leader. That’s good news for pet owners whose pets react to all the strange loud noises around them.

    Diwali which is celebrated over five days around October and November time has seen increases of UK firework sales as have celebrating Chinese New Year during January each year.

    Around 2 million pounds is spent each year on the London firework New Years Eve extravaganza which is viewed all around the world and seen as an important tourist showcase for the UK and where councils up and down the UK hold local New Year displays.

    Recent Legislation

    After the wonderful and stunning global displays of Millennium fireworks, every weekend after seemed plagued with party nights and early mornings where individuals would let off displays for the most minor celebrations without a care in the world for other humans, let alone the 25 million or so dog and cats residing in the UK.

    Fortunately, the nation seems to have curbed these activities after the government introduced defined dates and times that fireworks could be launched. Failure to adhere could mean hefty fines being imposed to those concerned.

    When Can You Use Fireworks?

    Fireworks can cause significant damage to property, persons and harm pets. Not only is there a danger from fireworks exploding but also pose serious fire risks.

    Members of the public may only use fireworks on private property, such as their gardens, and only licensed professionals can use them in public spaces.

    Read the government information about UK firework date restrictions. It provides the dates that are permissible by the public. Ignoring this information can result in on-the-spot fines and prison sentences.

    The signs your pet is becoming anxious with firework noise

    According to the largest UK pet retailer, Pets At Home, these are the typical signs of anxiousness in dogs and cats.

    Typical signs of fear in a dog

    • Hiding
    • Pacing
    • Panting
    • Yawning
    • Salivating
    • Incontinence
    • Restlessness
    • Running away
    • Flattened ears
    • Loss of appetite
    • Tail between its legs
    • Too distracted to focus

    Typical signs of fear in a cat

    • Hiding
    • Spitting
    • Hissing
    • Swatting
    • Biting
    • Scratching
    • Puffed fur and tail
    • Arched back
    • Tail swishing
    • Frozen, no movement
    • Running away
    • Flattened ears
    • Incontinence
    • Active anal glands

    \\\ Firework Safety Tips

    Best pet TIPS for a safe enjoyable firework night


    • Keep an eye out for dates of advertised firework displays, celebratory calendar events and prepare in advance.
    • Make sure your pets are wearing their collars and ID tags in case they do escape your home.
    • Check your microchip details of your pet with the registration company are up-to-date.
    • Start taking your dog for an earlier walk before dusk to settle your dog down a week or so before.
    • Keep a closer eye on your cat, even restricting their movements at dusk until dawn for their safety.


    • Close windows, and curtains and blinds to screen out any bright lights.
    • Make sure your pet bed is in a comfortable and quiet spot in the home, as are cats beds.
    • If you are at home try and keep your pets near to you. It helps them to feel safe knowing you are there.
    • Cats may hide themselves under a bed. Leave them there if they feel safe and secure.
    • Alternatively cats feel safe very high up, so may start climbing up their cat tree or even book shelves. Leave them there to feel safe.
    • Turn the television or music volume up to help drown out the loud noises.
    • Have treats ready. A Kong is a great idea with a treat tucked inside as it takes a little while for a dog to lick out all the contents and possibly will be so preoccupied with getting the food rather than being distracted to loud bangs.
    • When celebrations seem to be finished spend time interacting with your pet, which will help them to feel safe and secure.

    How to help outside pets during firework season

    • Bring outside rabbits and small pets into a shed or garage if possible.
    • Cover their cage or hutch with layers of blankets acting like blackout curtains which will keep the glaring lights out and muffle some of the noise. Make sure there’s air circulating around their cage.
    • Add extra straw and bedding in their cages and hutches so that can bury underneath.
    • Provide one or two treats to keep them occupied and it helps if they see you and you can be around near them.

    Fireworks and vets advice

    • Dogs can develop behaviour problems, such as inappropriate toileting, nervousness, barking, destruction, and self-mutilation. Cats may stop using their litter tray, for example. Use your insurers veterinary online video line, their helpline or chatline if you are concerned about your pet.


    • If making a bonfire, pile it away from as many bushes and trees as possible, only on the day of your event. This allows less small animals to crawl in and take refuge over time.
    • Check you bonfire before lighting it, shake it and disturb it, trying to ensure all hedgehogs, toads and frogs have run away.
    • Light your bonfire only in one side and this allows small animals to escape the fire.

    Firework night pet sitting experience

    “The first unannounced and definitely not expected loud audible bang of the fireworks season, our cats would race in through the cat hatch and stay in the house until early morning, finding members of the family and settle down with them curling up in the living space knowing they were safe and our dogs had started to have earlier evening walks and be lying down content in the lounge with us whilst all the noise carried on.

    Importantly, we didn’t react to the fireworks so the pet didn’t, which perhaps is one of the best tips one can give any new pet owner.

    However, a friend asked me to pet sit for her Jack Russell dog and it was an extraordinary and truly awful experience. The really lovable dog had been out for a walk, and had a meal and was settled in an armchair snoozing when the first bang went off and that was the start of two or three hours of utter chaos.

    He tore up the stairs and down many times, turning around and around in circles, he visibly shook from head to toe, he barked and barked, he tried jumping up and down at the front door as if he wanted to escape and peed on the floor. He’d finally calm down only more loud noises later to start him off again. It was truly a pitiful sight to see this lovely pet so agitated and anxious.

    My friend resorted to finding out about herbal remedies. One tablet had to be taken about an hour before the expected onslaught of noise, which was secreted in his meal.

    I was pet-sitting and it was expected that fireworks may be let off so Freddie had been ‘doped’ with a herbal tablet. About an hour later, local children were having a party near by and some firework noises could be heard, however the change in this dog was truly remarkable. He sat with me on the sofa, cuddled up asleep and only lifted his head slightly onto my lap at the sound of the first bang. He didn’t move for several hours snoozing away and content.

    On another occasion during the following days, the local firework party’s started early and he had only swallowed the tablet about half an hour earlier and this wasn’t enough time to keep him calm. He anxiety actions weren’t as violent as previously but he still became agitated. So it was necessary to give Freddie a tablet at least the full hour as the prescription had detailed for it to start calming him fully”.

    Most good pet stores will be promoting anti-anxiety products, calming sprays, tablets, drops and diffusers around the traditional times of firework season. If you’re experiencing problems, then they may be the first action to try to calm your pets. Only buy from quality trusted retailers, or visit your vet.

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